Little Caesars halts operations in Russia amid Ukraine invasion

Kalea Hall Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Detroit-based Little Caesars is suspending all operations in Russia, which are franchise-owned, the company confirmed Wednesday. 

"We join together with our franchisees and colleagues around the globe and the rest of the business community in hoping for a peaceful resolution to this conflict," spokeswoman Jill Proctor said in a statement. 

Little Caesars opened its first three stores in Russia a little over a month ago, Proctor said. 

Little Caesars is joining other major U.S. brands in backing out of Russia. McDonald's and Starbucks are shutting down their locations in Russia, and Coca-Cola is suspending its operations there, CNN reported Wednesday.  Auto manufacturers, including Ford Motor Co., also stopped production there. 

Little Caesars competitor Domino’s Pizza Inc. has locations in 47 cities in Russia run by the Turkey-based franchisee DP Eurasia NV, according to its website. Ritch Allison, CEO of the Ann Arbor-based food chain, said Wednesday in a statement that the company cannot legally suspend its franchise business there.

Allison added that royalties from Russian operations to its international franchising subsidiary will go to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, effective immediately. Its internal, employee-focused charity, the Domino's Partners Foundation, also is donating $1 million this week to workers of a Domino's franchise in Ukraine. Independent franchisees in Germany, Poland, Romania and Slovakia also have reached out to support Ukrainian refugees,

"We will continue to do what we can to meet the needs of those working for our brand during these difficult times," Allison said, "as well as work to support the heroic efforts to help those in need throughout Ukraine."

Ford and Jeep maker Stellantis NV have announced financial support for aid to Ukraine, as well.